2019 Cultural Ambassador Award recipient
Born and educated in Poland, Jadwiga Gewert arrived in the U.S. at the end of 1991. Employed at the Chopin Foundation since August 1, 1993, Ms. Gewert lead it successfully until her retirement in January 2019. She served as Director of the National Chopin Piano Competition. Prior to leaving Poland, Ms. Gewert was a corporate lawyer for the coal mine industry.
In 1996, Ms. Gewert started the ”Chopin for All” free concert series in Miami, which in 1999 expanded to Fort Lauderdale becoming one of the most popular classical music series in South Florida.
In 1998, she initiated the Scholarship Program for Young American Pianists which supports young piano students who strive to perfect their interpretation of Chopin’s music, and to consequently compete in the National Chopin Piano Competition held in Miami every five years. Winners of this competition went on to win top prizes at major international piano competitions, such as Queen Elisabeth, Geza Anda, Leeds, as well as the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw.
Besides helping young American pianists in the U.S., Ms. Gewert developed a successful pianists exchange programs with such organizations in Poland as the National Institute of Fryderyk Chopin in Warsaw, Paderewski Society and Competition in Bygdgoszcz, the Philharmonic Orchestra in Lodz, and with Chopin Festivals in Duszniki, Antonin and Krakow. Thanks to this program, dozens of young Polish musicians have toured the U.S. promoting the richness of Polish culture among American audiences, while the American pianists have performed in a great number of Poland’s concerts venues.
During the twenty-five years of her leadership, the Chopin Foundation has increased its national and international prestige among the audiences, music organizations and young musicians alike. Nationally, Ms. Gewert had established close relationship with such organizations as Music Teachers National Association and American Pianists Association, as well as with a number of music presenters across the U.S. As member of the board of the International Federation of Chopin Societies, Ms. Gewert has promoted Chopin’s music internationally, working together with other Chopin Societies and music organizations around the world.